From the world of business: July 2014 highlights
Here’s our guide to all the major business news from July.
Welcome to our business news round-up for July 2014. In this round-up of the most important business news stories from around the world, we point you to some of the biggest news stories that have had people talking during the past month.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that employment has risen sharply in the past 12 months, with employment now back at the record levels seen in 2005. A total of 30.6 million people are currently in work, the figures show, some 1.8 million more than in 2010. The number of women in work is also at a record high of 14.2 million.
Global mergers and acquisitions are at their highest level for seven years, according to Reuters. With the appetite for massive corporate deals returning, the value of M&A deals around the world hit $1.75 trillion in the first six months of the year, 75 per cent up on the same period last year.
French bank BNP Paribas was hit with a fine of nearly $8.9 billion after it confessed that it had disguised transactions for clients in nations such as Sudan, Iran and Cuba in spite of international sanctions placed upon them. Prosecutors had said the wrongdoing went to the very highest levels of the bank, with some of its top executives having been aware of the practice.
Germany has passed a minimum wage into law for the first time in the country’s history. Employees will earn no less than €8.50 (£6.80) per hour – more than the UK or the US – under the rules, which are designed to alleviate poverty and raise living standards for some lower-paid workers. It will take effect at the start of next year.
Graduate recruitment among some of the UK’s top employers has returned to the levels seen before the financial crisis, according to a report from High Fliers. It found that among organisations appearing in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, another 8.7 per cent more entry-level roles are expected to be on offer this year than in 2013.
The Competition and Markets Authority in the UK has recommended a full competition inquiry for the retail banking sector. After two studies found that that the product and service offerings of existing banks do not meet the needs of either individuals or small and medium-sized enterprises, it has opened a consultation on whether to launch an in-depth market investigation.
Data from the Confederation of British Industry shows that new orders for manufacturing firms rose sharply in the three months to July, improving on the previous quarter’s 19-year record performance. However, exports have failed to keep up with domestic demand, with global market conditions believed to have contributed.